Reflections on Fall

Lake reflection

On my way out last week,  I noticed these spectacular fall reflections in the lake, clear as glass that morning. I pulled into the town beach parking area and walked around, looking at the small surrounding hills from different vantage points and noticing how the reflections of the clouds in the sky enhanced the fall colors in the trees. It created a true mirror image and I tried to capture the ephemeral feeling of the lake when it is calm. The water always changes, at different times of day, and throughout the cycle of seasons and weather patterns. 

Sherwood Island

Last weekend I was visiting my sister and I went to Sherwood Island State Park and walked the beach. It was chilly and I had forgotten my knitted hat, but I ignored the stiff offshore breeze and made my way across the sand. I picked up several small shells and added them to the shells I carry in my pocket, a little bit of the beach always with me. I also chose one round flat rock to bring home as a touchstone for the day. There is just something about the water and the beach that I am drawn to, like a magnet. It replenishes my weary spirit inside and brings me renewal. I may feel half broken when I approach the water, but I always come away healed and with my energy restored.

Button jar

Back at home, I decided to go on a foliage drive to Colchester, passing scenic ponds surrounded by colorful trees and several local farms along the way. There is a vintage shop in Colchester here filled with really cool  items in small booths filled by a variety of individual vendors. It is the kind of place you wander around slowly for an hour in amazement, looking at everything, and you eventually find something that you want to bring home. I found this jar of buttons and fell in love with it. I have a button collection, as well as my mother’s button collection acquired last year, but when I downsized from the house to my condo 3 years ago, I gave away many things, including half of my button collection. So this button jar represents a small effort to reclaim a piece of myself that was lost. Buttons are ordinary objects and that gives them a special appeal. The Raggedy Ann doll sitting on the chair came from this same vintage shop on a previous visit.

Leaves collage

On one of my recent walks I gathered fallen leaves and brought them home, unsure about what I was going to do with them. They sat out on the kitchen counter for a few days, and then I decided to trace a few of them onto scrapbook paper in my art to go bag and create a simple collage in my 5” x 8” Canson sketchbook. So I cut out the paper leaves and glued them down. I used Tombow markers to darken the colors in the leaf shapes. I added some jagged lines to the background with a Pigma Micron pen and then I colored the background with a NuPastel stick.

Swirly shapes

I drew some random curved shapes in my sketchbook, added small circles, and colored everything in a simple color scheme using my Tombow markers. I really like these markers because they are double ended with a point tip and a brush tip, they are water based so I don’t have an allergic reaction to them, they last a long while and don’t dry out, and they are reasonably priced.

Hearts on a string

This is a spontaneous heart and circle doodle in my sketchbook. I enjoy drawing things like this and coloring in the shapes with my Tombow markers using random bits of color. This sketch is reminiscent of the plastic party beads you can get at a party store or Mardi Gras celebration.

I am trying to be more spontaneous as a path leading into the things that nourish my heart and soul. I tend to be list driven and goal driven and that often gets in the way of being with myself and hearing what I truly need from the voice inside.  The small things in life are so important and they can go overlooked in that search to be doing important things that are not really important and not the essence of life.  I talked about my reflections on this here 2 years ago in a blog post called Contemplation and Renewal.

 

The Pause Between Breaths

Collage rooted

I decided to pause between breaths and create some collage pages in one of my art journals last week. Sorting through some magazine pages I found these images that expressed exactly what I was feeling, so I cut them out and glued them down with a glue stick, pressing them down firmly with a brayer.  I  have some Art Bin flat storage boxes filled with a collection of assorted papers and ephemera, and magazines are stacked on top of the Art Bin boxes. I always pause to check the sharing bins at the library entrance for magazines with interesting photos to add to my collection of collage materials.  Today I found five gardening magazines filled with beautiful flower and garden photos so I brought them home with me.

Mercy by the Sea

At the beginning of August, I went to Mercy by the Sea to reconnect with myself and to sit quietly in reverence and contemplation. July had been a very busy month. I tried to do too much and I found myself feeling like I was being pulled in too many different directions. I felt very scattered. I had either already joined or contemplated joining eleven different groups in my local area. I had a renewed appetite for group activity after a long absence due to my previous work life, and thought I could do everything. But I was not enjoying myself and needed to hear the still, small voice inside of me and explore things on my own. So I took a hiatus from most of the group activity and I am a lot happier now. My day is now inner directed rather than outer directed and my life seems to flow with ease. Last month (see July blog post) I was meandering and now I am finding my way.

Hammonasset Beach

Last Sunday morning I went to Hammonasset Beach with my wonderful son, his lovely wife, and my baby grandson. There is something very calming about sitting on a blanket stretched out on the sand, feeling the sand beneath your toes, gazing out across the water to see the clouds and the distant sailboats, and listening to the waves as they touch the shore. For me the sea is a magical place and time stands still here. I always come away from a visit to the ocean with a feeling of inner peace and calm.

Chandelier quilt

I have decided to focus on quilting and this is bringing me to center. I still do other creative things, but quilting has become my primary activity. Of course, this was not part of my original plan two months ago, but quilting is calling me and I need to follow that inner voice. I love the way geometric patterns come together. I love fabric, the colors, the textures, the patterns, the shapes, and I love playing with graph paper to develop my own designs and then bring them into Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape on the PC. The quilt above is the Chandelier Quilt found in the book Charm School by Vanessa Goertzen. I saw this quilt on Flickr and fell in love with it so I had to make one of my own.

Tula Pink Quilt Blocks

I have not made a sampler quilt in many years, but I got the book Tula Pink’s City Sampler – 100 Modern Quilt Blocks for my birthday and these little 6 inch blocks are so much fun to make! I am using fabric from my stash (collection) and it is exciting to revisit fabrics that I had forgotten about (fabric has memory) and use them in new combinations. In this quilt I am going with a rainbow of colors and anything goes as far as what colors pair up with others. So far I have completed 30 blocks and I hope to make all 100 blocks and most likely will set them with white sashing and border. It will be exciting to have a fresh modern quilt for my bed!

Beach Labyrinth in the Fog

Labyrinth fog 1

Yesterday I went to Hammonasset Beach to recenter myself. It is a place that I always return to when I am finding myself too far from my core self and needing realignment. I parked at the Nature Center and walked to the hidden beach carpeted with shells and sharing space with the ever present beach labyrinth. To my surprise the labyrinth had grown and was much bigger than last time I was there.

Labyrinth fog 3

I gathered stones at the edge of the tide rolling in. I had noticed that some artists in my online spaces had painted rocks with interesting designs and I wanted to try that. After I gathered a basket full of stones I sat on a driftwood log, listening to the gentle sound of the waves and watching the scenery enveloped in the misty fog. Everything had an ethereal quality and there was remembrance of times past spent on the beach in fog. Except there was no sound of a foghorn, the lighthouse being too far from where I was.

Labyrinth fog 2

When the area became empty except for me, I slowly walked the inward spiral path of the labyrinth, thinking about where I was at this moment in time and where I was going. I finally felt at peace with myself after months of turmoil that I mostly kept hidden from view. I am a very private person and find it difficult to share my inner world with anyone.

Labyrinth fog 4

Yesterday was the tipping point or turning point for me. While holding space with the beach labyrinth, I realized that I am going to be OK, that I can trust in myself and my own judgement, and that I need to do what is right for me. I can’t be all things to all people – I can only be myself. I need to listen to that still, small voice inside that is telling me I need quiet and solitude, I need air to breathe, and I need space around me so that I can feel my edges and see who I am.

Labyrinth fog 5